Georgia Police Chief, Other White Leaders Apologize for 1940 Lynching

Griot: Karen Branan

Ernest Ward, president of the Troup County NAACP, (left) and LaGrange Police Chief Louis Dekmar have organized an event of acknowledgement in the 1940’s kidnapping and murder of Austin Callaway, 18. (Photo By: Melanie Ruberti | LaGrange Daily News)

On January 26, 2017 the police chief of Lagrange, Georgia, along with the city’s mayor, a judge, and a college president, representing the white business community, issued an apology for the 1940 lynching of teenaged Austin Callaway. The apology was issued to NAACP Pres. Ernest Ward and to members of Callaway’s family. Special mention was made of the church’s minister Rev. W.L. Strickland, who took his own life in his hands when he not only spoke out to a silent city against the lynching but wrote Thurgood Marshall, then legal counsel for the national NAACP for help, and started the Lagrange NAACP chapter.

On March 18, 2017, a local citizens organization, Troup Together, assisted by the Equal Justice Initiative of Montgomery, AL, will place a memorial marker to Callaway and other African Americans lynched in that county at Vernon Memorial.

A Sept. 9, 1940, article in The New York Times about the lynching of Austin Callaway. The fatal cruelties inflicted upon him are to be acknowledged Thursday evening. (The New York Times)

Before the Lagrange apology only one public official, the mayor of Waco, Texas, has taken responsibility for a lynching in his jurisdiction. Never has a police chief done so. In Lagrange, Chief Lou Dekmar said, “Most lynchings would not have happened if the police had done their jobs.”  Officials who spoke emphasized their determination to work for improved race relations on all levels. The service was covered by the New York Times, CBS, NBC, CNN, and NPR.

Karen Branan is the author of The Family Tree: A Lynching in Georgia, A Legacy of Secrets, and My Search for the Truth. She has been involved with the Lagrange effort for over a year. The lynchings detailed in her book occurred just 20 miles from that of Austin Callaway.

At ABHM’s Founder’s Day for Racial Repair and Reconciliation 2017, Karen will present about how her discoveries about her family’s complicity in a lynching unleashed her anti-racism activism.

Join Us on February 25, 2017 for ABHM’s Founder’s Day Gathering!

 

 America can heal from its troubled racial history.

Join us to learn how.

The Gathering for Racial Repair and Reconciliation

Our annual Gathering celebrates the legacy of America’s Black Holocaust Museum founder, Dr. James Cameron. In his honor, we bring together people from all corners of Greater Milwaukee for learning, dialogue and fellowship.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Centennial Hall • 733 N. 8th Street • Milwaukee WI


 

This year’s topic:

Let’s Face It: How Communities Remember and Repair Racial Trauma

We’ll explore these questions:

 

 

 

MORNING SESSION

9:00 -11:30 am Open to General Public & Sponsors. Tickets on sale here.

 

Introduction: Let’s Face It!

Listen to a short talk by ABHM Head Griot Reggie Jackson about the importance of truth-telling, remembrance, and ABHM’s role as a memorial museum in healing our city and nation.

 

 

 

 

Sneak Preview of a New Film, Always in Season

Experience a premiere preview of a new film that documents how lynching still impacts Americans to this day. It shows how descendants of victims and perpetrators in four communities are working to acknowledge the victims, repair the damage, and reconcile. View the film trailer here and the film website here.

Audience Talkback with Film Director and National Community Experts

Interact with film director Jacqueline Olive.  Jackie creates documentary projects that tell stories underrepresented in mainstream media. She coordinated the production of the Emmy award-winning PBS series, Independent Lens, and the internationally-themed documentary series, Global Voices. She will be joined on stage by members of the communities represented in Always in Season. Additional experts from around the country and Greater Milwaukee will also introduce their restorative projects. All presenters will then take questions and comments from the audience. (See the list of additional national and local presenters below.)

 

 

In addition, there will be:

 

AFTERNOON SESSION

12:15 – 4:15 pm – Open to Event Sponsors and their guests only.

(Organizations and individuals wishing to become Sponsors, please click here

for Sponsorship Opportunities, Benefits, and Response Form.)

Luncheon Keynote Address: Why Commemorate?

Listen to public historian Doria D. Johnson address the impact of remembering of racial trauma on victims and the ethics of doing such memory work.  An expert in US and African American history, Doria’s great-great-grandfather Anthony Crawford was lynched in 1916.  In 2005 she successfully pressed the US Senate to apologize for failure to enact federal laws against lynching. A memorial to her grandfather was recently dedicated in the town where he was murdered.

 

Roundtables (Small Group Dialoguing and Networking)

Attend two different roundtable discussions of your choice during the afternoon. This is a chance to talk in depth with two of the expert presenters and to network with other attendees who share your interest in particular topics.

(Preview the presenter/topic list below.)

 

 

Action Plans and Closing Ceremony

We’ll gather as a full group to reflect on:

 

Our Roundtable Facilitators

Henry Banks (Duluth MN) – Mr. Banks co-founded the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Project in Duluth, MN, the downtown memorial plaza built by this small city built to commemorate the infamous lynching of three circus workers. Henry is also the host of the regular weekly People of Color talk show on Wisconsin Public Radio.

Karen Branan (Washington DC) – Ms. Branan is the author of the Pulitzer Prize nominated memoir The Family Tree: A Lynching in Georgia, A Legacy of Secrets, and My Search for the Truth. Karen has long been active in Coming To The Table, a national organization that pairs descendants of lynching perpetrators and victims, as well as slaveholders and enslaved people, for the purpose of repair and reconciliation.

 

Randy Gamble (Memphis TN) – An anti-racism activist for many years, Mr. Gamble is a leader of the Lynching Sites Project of Memphis. LSP is part of Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative to memorialize over 4,000 known lynchings in our country between 1877 and 1950 through local community remembrance projects and a new national lynching memorial. The Memphis lynching of three black men launched Ida B. Wells on her anti-lynching campaign; Randy and the Downtown Clergy Association are organizing a 125th anniversary commemoration of those victims.

Cassandra Greene (Atlanta GA) – Ms. Greene is Director of the Moore’s Ford Bridge lynching re-enactment, which has, for the last seven years, commemorated the victims of that lynching in a small town in Georgia. That re-enactment is featured in the film Always in Season and can be seen in its trailer. Cassandra is also founder/CEO of the W.I.T.N.E.S.S. PROGRAM/ W.O.W.W. where she teaches communications and serves as a minister in Georgia’s State and Federal prisons.

 

Pardeep Singh Kaleka (Franklin WI) – A former Milwaukee cop, after his father was killed by a white supremacist in the Sikh Temple massacre, Mr. Kaleka paired up with a former violent white power extremist to found Serve2Unite, which teaches schoolchildren peacemaking through the Sikh principles of Chardi Kala: fearless creative compassion, service to others, and relentless optimism in the face of adversity. Pardeep is also a psychotherapist at the D & L Healing Center, where he specializes in treating trauma.

Brad Lichtenstein (Milwaukee WI) – An award-winning documentary filmmaker, Mr. Lichtenstein is developing a feature film that digs into unsolved Klan murders of black men in Mississippi. Despite the 2007 Emmett Till Act giving the FBI $100 million to investigate these crimes, their families have no answers. The murderers walk free. The film explores whether and how the trauma of unresolved violence can be healed.

 

Erin McCarthy and Colleen Perry (Greendale WI) – Middle school teachers in a white suburb of Milwaukee, Ms. McCarthy and Ms. Perry persuaded their principal and students’ parents of the value of regularly teaching African American history as a part of – not a sidebar to – American history. Erin and Colleen present history as a complex story of complex people in America’s complex society and teach it by building empathy, defining race and developing the whole child.  Through their inquiry-based curriculum, they build responsible citizens and communities.

Warren Read (Seattle WA) – Author of the memoir, The Lyncher in Me: A Search for Redemption in the Face of History, Mr. Read offered public apologies to each of the families of the three circus workers lynched in Duluth on the occasion of the dedication of the memorial to them there. Warren is also an elementary school teacher and educational leader/administrator.

 

Maria Cunningham and Jordan Davis (Milwaukee WI) – Active volunteers with the Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation, Maria serves as the Foundation board’s Vice-President and Jordan as a Public Programming Administrative Assistant. Milwaukee Public Library’s Rare Books Librarian, Ms. Cunningham led the project to digitize the dozens of booklets on African American history and race relations by Dr. Cameron, and created and manages a traveling exhibit about his life and writings for the museum. Mr. Davis is a Distinguished Graduate Student Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Master of Sustainable Peacebuilding program. His research interests center on public and local history, heritage resource management, and the museology of Africa and the African Diaspora.


 

EVENT SPONSORS

(as of 1/4/16)

VISIONARY SPONSOR

This event is funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State of Wisconsin. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Wisconsin Humanities Council supports and creates programs that use history, culture, and discussion to strengthen community life for everyone in Wisconsin.

 

 

HISTORY SCHOLAR SPONSOR

 

 

 

FREEDOM-LOVING SPONSOR: BARBARA STEIN

 

 

WITNESS TO HISTORY SPONSORS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEYNOTE SPONSOR

 

 

 

 

FILM SCREENING & AUDIENCE TALKBACK SPONSORS:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TABLE SPONSORS:

Dr. Russell Brooker

Bev Colton

Marquette University’s

 

 

 

 

Sponsorship Opportunities and Benefits – Founder’s Day 2017

Founder’s Day: An Annual Gathering for Racial Repair and Reconciliation

Saturday, February 25, 2017 

9:00am to 4:15pm

Centennial Hall

738 N. 8th Street, Milwaukee WI 53202

Our annual Gathering celebrates the legacy of America’s Black Holocaust Museum founder, Dr. James Cameron. In his honor, we bring together people from all corners of Greater Milwaukee for learning and fellowship.

The theme of this year’s event is “Let’s Face It: How Communities Remember and Repair Racial Trauma.

MORNING SESSION: Open to Organizational Sponsors and the Public. Attendees see a sneak preview screening of the new documentary Always In Season. Immediately following the film, there will be an audience talkback with the film’s director. She will be joined on stage by experts from around the country and Greater Milwaukee who will briefly introduce their communities’ commemorative projects, then take questions and comments from the audience.

AFTERNOON SESSION: Open to Organizational Sponsors Only. Members of our co-sponsoring organizations attend the Founder’s Day Luncheon and Keynote Address, followed by intimate Roundtable Discussions with experts from across the country sharing restorative experiences from their communities.

Click here for

All event proceeds provide essential funding for the community education programs of the Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation, including America’s Black Holocaust Museum.

 

The Foundation advances the work of civil rights pioneer, Dr. James Cameron, by preserving and sharing the African American experience as part of American history and culture, promoting interracial dialogue, and fostering repair and reconciliation.

To sponsor the Gathering, contact Dr. Fran Kaplan at 414-445-7500 or dr.fran at abhmuseum.org.


Annual Sponsorship Opportunities for the Gathering

Visionary       

Investment Requested $10,000

Freedom-Lover

Investment Requested $5,000

Witness to History

Investment Requested $1,000


Special Opportunities for the Gathering in 2017

These opportunities are specific to the format of Gathering 2017 and may not be repeated in future years. Join the conversation and help Milwaukee learn from other communities’ strategies for promoting racial repair and reconciliation.

Film Screening and Audience Talkback: Always In Season

Exclusive Sponsorship – Investment Requested $2,500

Founder’s Day Luncheon

Exclusive Sponsorship – Investment Requested $2,500

Keynote Speaker

Exclusive Sponsorship – Investment Requested $1,500

Table Sponsor

Limited Inventory, 24 – Investment Requested $300

To sponsor the Gathering, please contact Dr. Fran Kaplan at 414-445-7500 by February 13th.


Thanks for joining with other organizations and individuals to invest in repair and reconciliation!

EVENT SPONSORS WHO HAVE SIGNED ON AS OF JANUARY 4TH

VISIONARY SPONSOR

This event is funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State of Wisconsin. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Wisconsin Humanities Council supports and creates programs that use history, culture, and discussion to strengthen community life for everyone in Wisconsin.

 

 

HISTORY SCHOLAR SPONSOR

 

FREEDOM-LOVING SPONSOR: BARBARA STEIN

 

WITNESS TO HISTORY SPONSORS

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEYNOTE SPONSOR

 

 

 

FILM SCREENING & AUDIENCE TALKBACK SPONSORS:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TABLE SPONSORS:

Dr. Russell Brooker

Bev Colton

Marquette University’s

This Day in History: Richard and Mildred Loving Plead Guilty to the Crime of Interracial Marriage

Photograph of Mildred Loving and Richard Loving dated June 12, 1967

By the Equal Justice Initiative

After marrying in Washington, D.C., in 1958, Richard and Mildred Loving returned to their native Caroline County, Virginia, to build a home and start a family. Their union was a criminal act in Virginia because Richard was white, Mildred was black, and the state’s Racial Integrity Act, passed in 1924, criminalized interracial marriage.

On January 6, 1959, the Lovings pleaded guilty to both charges. After their conviction and release, the Lovings fought the law that had branded their love a crime and, on June 12, 1967, won a United States Supreme Court decision that would change the nation.

Read more here

Read about the film adaption of their life here 

Read more Breaking News here